Qualifying for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone has been a day of mixed fortunes for the Scuderia Ferrari team, with Charles Leclerc lining up third on the grid for tomorrow’s race, his team-mate, German four-time World Championship winner Sebastian Vettel starting in sixth.
Vettel set his best lap time of a 1:25.787 on the soft tyre, with Leclerc, also running on the soft, setting a 1:25.172.
The German said the weekend so far has not gone to plan, and he has struggled to extract performance from the car.
“It’s been a bit of an up and down weekend for me and this afternoon, I struggled to get the most out of the car, as I couldn’t get a feel for it and I wasn’t happy with how it went. Lately, we have been clearly struggling on one lap pace.” he said.
“However, looking at our long run pace from free practice, I expect to be more competitive in the race tomorrow.”
The 32-year-old added that he knew that Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport were the favourite to win, but thought they would nonetheless be able to battle with their closest rivals Red Bull Racing.
“It looks like Mercedes start favourite, but I think we can take the fight to the Red Bulls and then see what we can do from there.”
The day was a different story for Leclerc, who considered that he had been able to maximise the performance of the car.
“I am satisfied with our result because I think that we did the best we could and extracted the maximum from our car on this particular circuit. We struggled at the beginning of this weekend, especially with the front tyres, which already felt much better today,” said Leclerc.
“In terms of the strategy, we are happy with our choice to start the race on the soft compound. The cars ahead will be on mediums, which will hopefully mix things up a bit. The weather will also play an important role in the race and, together with the challenges the track itself poses, it should be an exciting one.”
Team Principal Mattia Binotto said he on the whole pleased with the drivers’ performance.
“We are definitely pleased with the performance of the car today, after the difficulties we experienced yesterday,” said Binotto.
He added that in the time between the end of practice and the start of qualifying, the drivers were able to spend time in the simulator, which help the team fine tune the set-ups of the cars.
“Overnight, thanks to work in our simulator, we managed to modify the set-up. This meant the drivers found they had more confidence in the car, primarily because it was better balanced, especially the front end where it suffered yesterday.”
“Charles’ lap was stupendous and he came so close to getting onto the front row. Tomorrow, we start on a different tyre compound to those around us, which was planned in order to add in another variable.
“We are well aware this will be a long race during which tyre wear will be a factor for everyone, but our hope is that we have found the right set-up to also allow us to go well over a long stint.
Binotto continued saying that he thought Vettel could have done better.
“As for Sebastian, in the final part of qualifying, he did not feel comfortable or confident with the car. That is a shame, as we believe that he could have qualified better.”